The Eden Hall Series

 
Completing Eden

Completing Eden - Vol. 5

Seth McGinnis is the last single man standing and it's a lonely place to be.  As he battles his friends and pseudo family for privacy, he wrestles with his own conscience and decides he can't let Brogan's Pub be the only thing in his life.  

Although his covert methods put a strain on his Eden Hall bond, he finally decides to take a risk on fulfilling his undisclosed dreams.  Finding out along the way that he actually has a big Irish family was just an added bonus.

ISBN/EAN13:  1434843165 / 9781434843166
Page Count:   308
Binding Type:  US Trade Paper
Trim Size:  5.25"x8"
Language:  English

“I can’t see Tammy going to a play,” Emma said, rolling her eyes.

“No, I’m not going out with Tammy,” Seth said, but agreed that neither Tammy nor Lisa would probably find it interesting.  “You don’t like Tammy either?”

“I don’t know her so I can’t say,” Emma said carefully.  “But she seems to have all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”

“Nice cage, no bird?”  Seth laughed at the phrase Emma usually used about women she met in the bar, and he had always enjoyed her descriptions.  She had an unusual way of describing things that were amusing yet succinct.

“That’s usually the type you pick, but no, actually, Tammy has a bird—, a very small black beady-eyed bird with a long pecking beak,” Emma said, hiding her smile, but Seth laughed out loud.  Tammy had been mean and snide to Emma every time Seth was out of earshot.  She was a spiteful nasty female in Emma’s opinion.

“So you don’t approve of my choices?”  Seth said, smiling.  He didn’t think much of Emma’s choices either.

“It’s none of my business,” Emma said, holding up her hand signaling an end to the topic.

“Nobody likes Tammy so your opinion has a lot of company, but I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks.”  Seth didn’t plan to see her again either.

“So who’s the new one?”  Emma said on reflex and then realized it was probably inappropriate for her to ask as well as just welcoming aggravation.  She’d spent endless hours with Seth for over a year now, and he’d shown no interest in her at all.  They had fun working together, talking, had many of the same interests and she enjoyed being around him, but he treated her no differently than the guys that worked there.  She knew she wasn’t going to get a modeling contract tomorrow, but she also knew there were men that found her attractive.  Apparently Seth wasn’t one of them.

“Lisa,” Seth said, returning to his stocking.  “She was in here over the weekend, sat down at the far end…”

“Is she a tall girl with long dark hair?”  Just the opposite of me, Emma thought.

“Yeah,” Seth said, waiting for Emma to label Lisa’s flaws.

“She’s pretty,” Emma said, shrugging.  They usually were and this girl had seemed nice, but Emma only thought that because she wasn’t loud and acting like a drunken idiot while she was in there.

“That’s all you’ve got?”  Seth smiled, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“Yeah, that’s all I’ve got.  I didn’t even talk to her,” Emma said defensively.  “I don’t critique all your dates, at least not to your face.”

Seth laughed heartily at that because he knew she did.  “Although you haven’t asked me my opinion, I don’t think you’re any better at picking dates than you think I am.”

“Oh, really,” Emma said haughtily.  “They’re the exact opposite of the type you pick so I’m not surprised you think that.”

“Your men may be intelligent, Emma, but they are social misfits and terribly hard to look at,” Seth said, laughing.  “You can do better.”

“Well, your women are attractive yet completely devoid of the ability to formulate a meaningful thought or form a complete sentence.  I don’t know how you get through an evening with them unless you just aren’t interested in conversation.”

“I get all the conversation I need from you,” Seth said chuckling.  Emma talked constantly, to him, the other employees, to the customers and to herself.

“Yeah, and you overwhelm me with your beauty,” she said, scoffing.  “I guess I’m just not pretty enough for you or maybe you like them dumb.”

“And you like them ugly?  Somehow I don’t think that’s the problem,” Seth said, smiling.

“And just what is, oh mighty problem solver,” Emma said snidely.  She knew the answer but she was pretty sure he didn’t.

“They aren’t the right people.”

“So what are we bothering for?”

“Just passing time,” Seth said, shrugging.  He wondered the same thing most of the time and that’s why he went for several months at a time without a date.  It was a big waste of time and money.  “Where do you meet these guys you go out with anyway?  Do you meet them at school?”  Seth saw them come in and sit while she worked but he rarely saw the same guy twice.  He knew she wasn’t meeting them in the bar.  They weren’t the type to come in for a drink, and she had little time for much outside of work and class.

“Online,” Emma said.  “I tried answering a few ads at first but I kept ending up with guys just like the ones sitting in here every night, so I put my own ad online and then I can control things a little better.  I would like to meet a man, any man, whose evolutionary path isn’t that of Homer Simpson.”

“I’ve never known anyone that met through a personal ad,” Seth said in shock.  “Isn’t that a little dangerous?”

“That’s why I meet them here.  It’s public and you are the only person that would miss me if I disappeared anyway.  That way you can give the police a good description,” Emma said, smiling.

“That’s not funny, Emma.  If you do that again, you need to leave their name and whatever information you have about them somewhere so we can rely on more than my powers of observation.”

“Oh, I always leave Roddy a note that says if I don’t come home, this is the name of the man that killed me,” Emma said, laughing.  “I figure eventually he’ll get hungry enough to let someone know I’m gone.”

“Roddy?”  Seth hadn’t heard her mention him in months.  He thought that relationship had ended.

“Yeah, Roddy, my little dog.  He would miss me, but he can’t call 9-1-1,” Emma said, chuckling.  “I should probably try and teach him though.”

“Roddy is a dog?”  Seth said, puzzled and then had to laugh.  He wondered if she intentionally misled people about him or if he and Sean had just made improper assumptions.

“Yes, Roddy is a dog.  I’ve told you about him before,” she said, confused why he seemed so surprised.  “He’s a little orange Pomeranian.”

“I don’t recall you telling me he was a little dog though,” Seth said, and then rushed to cover his misunderstanding.  “You hadn’t mentioned him for a long time and I didn’t realize you still had him.  So what does your personal ad say?”

“I have two of them.  One says ‘Gorgeous heiress, 27, seeks witty Nobel-awarded intellectual beefcake gardener-chef-poet.  Like me, you are dynamic, hilarious, serious, ironic, passionate, practical, affectionate, kind, have most of your own hair and are startled to find yourself still walking the aisles of the mall.’  Those I never respond to but the responses are a true joy to read,” Emma said over Seth’s laughter.  “That one draws all of the self-made men that worship their own existence, and reading the description they offer for themselves is the best joke material I’ve ever seen.”

“I think I’d find that one a bit intimidating,” Seth said still chuckling.  “And why do you only require them to have most of their own hair?”

“Well, I have to cut them some slack somewhere.”

“What’s the real one say?”  Seth said, shaking his head and grinning.

“Well it changes from time to time but right now I think it says something like, ‘Will consider any man who can make conversation, good sense, a living, friends, four cooked meals, hot love and me laugh.’  When the responses get raunchy, I take out the hot love part and replace it with ‘a grammatically correct sentence’.  Both are equally important you see, but it seems few men exist who can do both, and they’re already taken.”

“Well, you’re asking someone to prove an awful lot up front,” Seth said.

“Hmm, apparently, and that’s why you don’t see the same guy twice.  It must be much easier for guys.  All they care about is getting a picture.  I need more than a pretty face,” Emma said sincerely, but then smiled at the thought of what she’d ended up with.  “I do need someone that I can share a meal with though, without having to divert my eyes.”  Seth had to sit down after that statement because she caught him off guard.  Just when he had arrested his laughter she choked him up all over again. 

“I’m glad you find my tribulations so amusing.  Well, actually I am usually pretty amused by it too until they are sitting at the bar ogling me.  Then the reality of my sexual famine takes all the fun away.”

“Emma, what do you do with them when you leave here?”  He couldn’t believe she put herself in these awkward positions.  He always thought she knew these men and was willingly dating them, not meeting them for the first time.

“I tell them that I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this just wasn't it and I fade quietly away.  They never know where I live, and only one of them has ever dared to come back in the pub to see why I wasn’t answering his emails.  The rest just let it go.  It’s only uncomfortable for a short time and they’ve all been really nice in email until I meet them.  We correspond for a while before I invite them here.  I’m trying to screen out the scary ones.”

“Your success at that depends on your definition of scary,” Seth said, chuckling. 

“I know some of them have been a little less than attractive, but all men can’t look like you, Seth,” Emma said, smiling.  “You only have what you’re born with and they can’t help it.  Even ugly people need someone.  It’s even more difficult to be an ugly woman though.  I feel a little sorry for these guys and I have enjoyed the emails, but once I meet them they get all weird on me and even the emails don’t work anymore.”

“They get weird?”  Seth was surprised they weren’t all lined up at the bar every night.

“Yes, all moony and completely lose their ability to communicate rationally,” Emma said, shrugging.  It was difficult to explain but they just didn’t correspond in the same lighthearted way after they’d met her.

“Well, I can understand that,” Seth said, nodding.  He’d had a difficult time talking to her when she first started working at Brogan’s.  She broke down those barriers eventually though because she was warm and friendly to everyone, but she was intimidating.  Partly because she was assertive with her friendliness which caught men off balance until they realized it was just her unabashed personality.  It was also difficult to look at her and not get tongue-tied.  She was petite and curvy with a sexy spunkiness that grabbed everyone’s attention, but when she looked at you with those big dark royal blue eyes, it made a man forget what he was going to say.  Her energy and her smile were intoxicating though, and she would pull you out of your trance with some quick witty statement.  Even though her sharp-tongued wit seemed to be teasingly abusive to the male customers, they basked in the attention she gave them and enjoyed the banter she handed out if they tried to fight back.

“I guess it does change things.  I don’t feel the same interest in responding to them either after I’ve seen them,” Emma said sadly.  She hated being shallow.  “I’m going to hell aren’t I?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll save you a seat,” Seth said, chuckling as he got up to finish the stocking.